Sport England funding: Rugby league and swimming get largest grants

ngland women rugby league
England women played France women in an international friendly in Avignon in October

Sport England has awarded a further £27.1m of funding to seven sports including rugby league and swimming.

More than half of the latest tranche will be used to increase participation, with the rest for talent development.

Rugby league has been awarded £10.7m and swimming £10.5m, with badminton receiving £2.8m.

The latest investment follows the £88m announced in December for 26 sports to deliver grassroots schemes and the £101m in February for 25 sports.

Sport England's key investments
Rugby Football League: £10,750,000 Taekwondo: £999,704
Amateur Swimming Association: £10,560,000Basketball England: £410,000
Badminton England: £2,800,000British Weight Lifting: £373,800
Baseball Softball UK: £1,273,800TOTAL - £27,167,304

New Women's Super League

The funding allocated to rugby league includes £7m for participation, with plans in place to introduce more females to a sport in which 93% of regular players are male, by creating a Women's Super League.

The £3.75m allocated for talent will help the Rugby Football League to boost player development, and in particular for female and wheelchair players.

RFL chief executive Nigel Wood said: "We are working hard to reduce reliance on public investment and understand the need to create new funding streams if we are to truly maximise the opportunity of hosting the World Cup in 2021."

Boost for badminton

In December 2016, Badminton England was awarded £7.25m to support regular players and this further £2.8m will support a programme for the next generation of elite players.

This comes despite a UK Sport decision to remove all its elite funding before the Tokyo 2020 Olympics and uphold that after an appeal.

Badminton England chief executive Adrian Christy said: "We have an exciting generation of young players and this investment will support their development."

Gabby Adcock
Chris and Gabby Adcock reached the semi-finals at the All England Badminton Championship in early March

How does the funding work?

Sport England has now allocated £216m over three waves for the 2017-2021 cycle, compared to the £493m given out for the period covering 2013-2017.

The shortfall reflects the new Sport England strategy published in May last year which states there will be less focus on the 'sporty' people and more money and resources spent on tackling the inactive demographic.

In light of this, there has been a shift in focus for the money awarded and some bodies may have asked for less money than they received four years ago.

This also means sport's traditional governing bodies are facing average cuts of a third in their Sport England grants, with the bigger, richer sports typically losing even more public subsidy.

Sport England, which receives about three quarters of its funding from the lottery with the rest coming from general taxation, will distribute £1bn over the next four years to mass participation sport, with about a third of that going directly to national governing bodies.

UK Sport: Elite level funding - supports Olympic and Paralympic athletes to maximise their chance of medal success
Sport England: Grassroots funding - supports governing bodies to get more people active through sport and exercise

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